Archive for May, 2012

African American and “My Two Moms” sharing a small shelf in So-Cal

May 29, 2012

Black people. Gay people. They all look the same to Barnes & Noble, Orange, CA.

I’m not sure when this started. But it’s the first time I’ve noticed it.

Barnes & Noble is a strange bookshop. It isn’t really a bookshop in the sense of a real bookshop, like the awesomeness of Amazon.com, or Bookman on North Tustin Street in Orange, or that place on Roeland Street in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s really just the front end of a warehouse, stocked mostly with disposable non-fiction, aimed at America’s massive “me culture”.  1000 Barbecue Recipes. An entire 10 foot shelf just dedicated to cooking pork. Another dedicated to how to stop eating BBQ pork. Another to the growing co-dependency / drug addiction industry. Another for gun magazines. And another for scams like Mothers’ and Fathers’ days. And pets. Oh my god. Animals are gods in the USA – unless they’re edible. But even then they get a shelf. 1000 Ways to Cook a Chicken that never saw Daylight. Novels? Oh, get a Nook (TM), you nerd. Only that latest 50 big sellers or series with movies coming out can be purchased in print.

I bought a novel by Ann Patchett called State of Wonder (cause I like Orange Prize for Fiction stuff) and a book about psychopaths called The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, and went cycling on home.

Comment /caption removed to avoid confusing my readers. Maybe this is photo is what is confusing the simple folk at B&N, Orange, CA.

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Home is where the troublemakers are

May 22, 2012

Zuma’s dignity? What is that? Cause I’m not sure he has any left to lose.

I’ve been hearing a lot about my president lately. Mostly regarding his penis, which is causing controversy again. Not because he’s using it to impregnate another young girl, or have sex with an HIV positive employee who will later accuse him or rape, nor because it’s very big, nor because it’s very small. Just because someone did a naked picture of him, satarising him. The SA blogesphere has divided like [insert own smutty simile here ] over the issue.

As blogged by http://tia-mysoa.blogspot.com/. Artist Brett Murry’s really done it this time. The picture sold to an overseas buyer but is currently at home in Cape Town, causing huge amounts of kak.

This would never happen in America right now (pity, Obama’s hot), because dignity is something that, as a public figure, you earn, and President Obama is nothing if not dignified in his personal life. Now Clinton? That’s a different story as we all know. You get what you ask for when you whip it out and pop it in someone’s mouth. But that’s just what I think. Not everybody agrees.

Blogger Tia Mysoa lists Zuma’s many sexual disgressions, sarcastically, I think, denying that they’re the inspiration for the artwork. Another blogger, Without The R censors the Zuma art and says it’s a personal attack, and not justified, given that he’s the president and stuff. He even compares it to necklacing… which is weird, because I don’t remember necklacing victims rising from the dead to use government funds to sue artists. I couldn’t agree less, but that’s what the free press is for – airing our differences. Let’s hope our President doesn’t manage to silence any of us. That, I would find impossible to er… swallow.

Meanwhile, my favourite cartoonist in the whole world, Zapiro, makes his own point using his favorite cultural weapon: humor. The shower is reference to Prez Zuma’s statement that he wasn’t worried about catching Aids from the HIV positive woman who accused him of rape a few years back, because he took a shower afterwards. Nice work! Since then, every time Zuma screws up, a shower starts growing out of his head in Zapiro’s cartoons. This time, Zapiro moved it to between his legs. Which totally rocks.

I’m not a fan of subtle political cartoons. I like hard propaganda. I think it’s braver. More like this at Zapiro.com, or just google image search Zuma Zapiro Shower.

In my opinion, nobody has a RIGHT to dignity – specially those who live with absolutely none, and exploit the people who trust them with the ultimate responsibility, and who have been systematically betrayed. There’s nothing dignified about living in a shack while your president adds wife after wife to your tax bill, protects corrupt chronies, takes bribes to buy useless arms we can’t use, and stifles the press.

All this uproar is making me homesick – but not that homesick. Although I’m sometimes accused (usually by Republicans who don’t know Egypt from Nigeria) of being “anti-american” on this blog, what I love about America is that it’s just as crazy as South Africa. Also, I’m beginning, bit by bit, one by one, to find open-minded friends who actually think about the world. Those people are rare anywhere, but they’re also everywhere. Thank God for them, for those people most of the world calls “troublemakers” and that I call “sanity”.

And remember this? @comradesipho reminded me, by RTing this post.

Ayanda Mabulu’s painting, quite a bit of nudity. A deadly satire of the Last Supper, depicting the desecration of Madiba’s legacy. Now I think there are two reasons why its less contraversial. 1. Mabulu is black. 2. It includes apartheid in its targets (the pig with the old flag), and is aimed less at just one target.

UPDATE

The ANC put together a protest march against the gallery today – Tuesday in South Africa, Monday night in America. Here’s what the Goodman Gallery had up in the window as the marchers passed. Via Twitter.

Ya. Respect is where it’s at, as City Press editor Ferial Haffajee proved when she removed the picture of Zuma and peen from her website. I’m not sure she should have. I’m not sure the people she’s respecting respect respect, if you know what I mean…

A Democratic Party rep also tweeted pics of street kids sleeping across the street. Opportunistic stuff when coming from a very capitalist party who would probably just remove them, but nevertheless, pertinent.

Lost and found in life

May 18, 2012

You know how you always wonder, when you see a single shoe lying in the street, “how did that happen?” Well I can explain at least one of them. I cycled home from a friend’s birthday party last night, and arrived to discover that one shoe out of my favorite pair, which I took off because cycling in heels can be tricky, had bounced out of my bike basket at some point in the journey.

I could have cycled the two miles back to look for it. But it was 1am and I wasn’t in the mood. Instead, I just tried to figure out if there was anything useful I could so with the surviving shoe. Frame it? Hang it? Wait until I lose a leg and wear it then? Take a photo of it and put up posters offering a reward for the safe return of the other?

Now, that’s an idea.

I really loved that shoe.

And lost things got me thinking of my first American friend, Sherrie, Sherri, Sharon… Harvey. Where ARE you, girl? I know I’m easy to find, so you must not want to. I just hope you haven’t joined a crazy religious cult or gone to prison for life. But if you have, get hold of me anyhow – if they let you use the the internet, we must still have plenty to talk about.

UPDATE: LOST and FOUND. My friend Rochan walked past my shoe with another friend Shana and recognised it. Thankfully she picked it up and put it in her car. Hopefully I’ll have as much luck with people as I did with shoes.

A quick summary of four US papers’ reactions to Obama’s Gay News: A picture with 1000 words or more

May 11, 2012

The most moving reaction to this news was what I heard from Andrew Sullivan, who said that he thought it would be no big deal, but that hearing his president acknowledge his humanity as equal in this way in this speech moved him to tears. The same day, Fox called it a “war on marriage. And next day, today, snail-mail media had their go at it.

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NYT: Triumphant but dignified. Wall Street J: Announces, but in subheader anticipates how conservatives will use it against him. Does not anticipate simultaneous release of info that Romney was a bully at school, though. OC Register: Doesn’t bother writing decent headline, so why should we give a crap? USA Today: Openly reactionary stance plus banners of morons protesting.

Small Brain? Help is at hand, as new solve-it-all “doctor” scam hits Twitter

May 11, 2012

I thought I’d seen it all – or I mean, seen it all before, and again, and repeatedly. You know those doctors who advertise to desperate people who’ve run out of all logical options? “Here, drink this vinegar and your lover will return!” Actually that probably worked once, since vinegar is known to help cure yeast infections. But I digress.

Move aside “DR MORRIS”…

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Upside down on the roof of a train in Cape Town. I had to flip and rotate it… and unfortunately it’s blurred.

 

DR. BUJJAGALI MUHINDO is here to solve all your problems. On twitter – @bujjagali!

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I sent him a question on twitter. “@bujjagali Dear Dr. I have a small penis. I have had a small penis all my life. Please can you help me!”. Let’s see what he suggests.

 

Cinco de Mayo in the world next door

May 6, 2012

America, like South Africa, has worlds within worlds within worlds, like a cultural Russian doll. The outer layer is my least favourite, although it can be fun. I like the others more. But you don’t really see them when you’re driving around in your car, even whizzing past on a bike. That’s why I decided to talk the five miles to Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Santa Ana, the not-so-little Mexico of Orange, CA.

I saw yellow butterflies, and baby squirrels (so cute) and lots of bright wild daisies and jasmine and men selling flowers.

When you cross this road, you enter a new kind of America.

When I grow up and buy my first palace I’m going to get this chair and put it in the TV lounge.

There’s always something inviting about a bit of empty, fenced off land. I can’t help thinking “why not?” and “how hard would it be to get in?”

A surname you don’t want in South Africa. I love US mailboxes – with the red thing to show your spam mail has been delivered. I always get one letter from the bank (who I have asked not to send me mail) and a rubbish bag full of adverts for stores, greasy takeaways, and other junk. I can’t figure out how it’s legal to send me all these things I never agreed to have clogging up my mailbox, yet it’s not legal to send a bunch of harmless, easily deleted emails.

I nearly just went and played pool there, in the bar next to the mommy shop. Awesome.

Rothko in the mutherf$cking hood?

Something tells me I’ve arrived.

See this is what I love about traveling, and life in general. Who would have thought that there would still be a fruit I’d never tasted? I had a glass of the pink one – it’s a sort of fruit Horchata made with Mamey, which is like a cherry melon…  almost. With rice milk and plenty of sugar and vanilla. Awesome on hot day after a five mile hike.

I’ve always thought it funny that Cinco celebrations take place on the corner of “French” street in Santa Ana. Here’s why.

And after buying myself some hideous flip flops at the dollar store and changing into a clean dress, I set out to party all night long. It’s not nicknamed Drinko De Mayo for nothing, people. Viva la revolution or something.

Free for Fatherless boys: Camping. Bike Shop. Fishing. Jesus!!!

May 5, 2012

Sometimes I have no words. The signs speak for themselves. What’s weird is that nobody around me seems to see them for how fucking weird they are.

I have recently been accused of generalising about Americans. It’s true, I do it. It’s my attempt, as a politically passionate, ultimately peaceful person, to make sense of a place in which people avoid discussions about politics, yet wage war constantly. But I’m going to stick my neck out and generalise again: To me? What’s normal here is pretty weird. Prime example: This poster.

poster in orange, ca

I think the hardest thing for me to understand about the USA is probably the overwhelming ASSUMPTION of Christianity, as the norm. Replace Jesus with Allah? You’re entering a shitstorm for sure. This thing’s been hanging across the road for weeks, and nobody except me seems to find it bizarre.

Welcome to quaint-town. Orange, CA. Home of Jesus!! Free to fatherless boys.

Don’t think for a second that I haven’t felt like a fish out of water everywhere I’ve ever been. Cause I have. I’m always lying just outside the fish tank, gasping for air and stubbornly refusing to get back in.